Black River Safari Tour – Interact with Crocodiles in Jamaica

A boat trip upriver and interact with American crocodiles and other local wildlife at the Black River Safari.

Pontoon boat on black river safari

Take a cruise down Jamaica’s largest navigable river while enjoying breathtaking views and local wildlife on the Black River Safari Tour. The Black River in Jamaica was once thought to be the Island’s longest river until it lost the title to the Rio Minho River.

Black River Safari tour is a 1.5 hours cruise on the Black River and lower morass. in an aluminum pontoon boat towards the Caribbean Sea. The cruise explores remote wetlands and mangroves while sightseeing the local wildlife including the endangered American crocodile.

You’ll get to discover the beautiful scenery of the South Coast. The river is populated with crocodiles in various sizes.  Other wildlife includes a wide array of freshwater fish, endangered manatees, and giant red Mangrove trees sitting on stilt-like roots up to 40-feet in height.

Black River Is A Birders Paradise:

Black River Safari is one of the most famous ecological tours offered on the Island. Jamaica is home to more than 300 species of tropical birds with over 100 exotic species spotted at the Black River lower morass, making it a birders paradise. If birdwatching is one of your hobbies, then a copy of this guide might help on your Black River Safari Cruise.

visitor holding baby crocodile on safari tour
The visitor holding a baby crocodile at The Black River Safari.


Charles Swaby is the longest established operator of a wildlife safari tour in Jamaica.  The Black River Safari was officially opened in 1987 and was the first attraction in Jamaica that offers tours to see crocodiles or even interact with the reptile.

The environmentalist says he has been in interaction with the crocodile since age nine. He started the tour so the average person could learn more about the often misunderstood reptile.

American Crocodile species occur in 17 countries throughout the Caribbean. These include Peru and countries in Central America up to the southernmost tip of Florida. They are shy creatures, unlike other hostile crocodiles in other parts of the world such as the Nile River in Africa. Swaby and his tour guides elaborate on daily tours.

Known to many as Jamaica’s Crocodile man, Charles Swaby is an environmentalist. He has dedicated his life to the recusing and conservation of the endangered species. Mr. Swaby also owns a crocodile refuge and sanctuary to protect key habitats in remote parts of the Island.


The Black River is one of the longest rivers in Jamaica. The river is 53.4 km (33.2 miles) in length, but only navigable up to about 40 km (25 miles). Black River begins as an underground stream in the Cockpit Country and emerges at the southern border of the Cockpits.

The river ends in the Caribbean Sea. Black River got its name because of the dark hue of the river bed, due to layers of decomposing vegetation on the floor of the stream over the years.

Black River also flows through a town of the same name that was established in early 1671. The town of Black River was designated the capital of Saint Elizabeth in 1773, thus, replacing nearby town Lacovia.


tour guide pet crocodile at black river safari tour
Tour Guide kissing a Crocodile on Safari Tour.

The company is located at 1 Crane Road in Black River,  Saint Elizabeth. The ecological tour also has other world-famous tourist attractions nearby such as Floyd’s Pelican Bar, and Appleton Rum Factory Tour.

J. Charles Swaby’s Black River Safari Contact Details:

  • Address: 1 Crane Rd, Black River, Saint Elizabeth Jamaica W.I.
  • Telephone Number: +1 (876) 965-2513
  • Social Media: Facebook
  • Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm daily
  • Tour Price: $20USD per person (including Lunch)


After enjoying the Safari Tour numerous times, we are recommending that you take along the things on the list below. Follow the list, the items will make your day way more enjoyable.

  • Wear Comfortable Shoes
  • Wear Comfortable Clothing
  • Inspect Repellent
  • Digital Camera (Smartphones will work just fine)
  • Cash

Black River safari crocodile adventure


Like most attractions in Jamaica, getting to the Black River Safari will take you on a tour on local roadways. There are all-inclusive tour operators that will charge you one price for transportation, tours, and fees. Private tour operators, on the other hand, only charge for transportation.

Most resorts have their preferred tour operators. However, if you want a more non-commercialized tour operator licensed by the Jamaica Tourist Board, we recommend Shorty Tours.  George is one of the best tour guides, for this reason, we are recommending the company.

Regardless of which resort you are staying, a day trip to Black River Safari is totally worth your time. Here’s a list of the estimated drive time to Black River from popular resort towns in Jamaica.


  • Negril – 1 hour and 28 minutes (74.4 km)
  • Whitehouse – 24 minutes (21.7 km)
  • Montego Bay – 1 hour and 57 minutes (85.6 km)
  • Falmouth – 2 hours and 34 minutes (115 km)
  • Ocho Rios – 3 hours and 35 minutes (168 km)
  • Kingston – 2 hours and 51 minutes (151 km)


Black River has plenty to offer ranging from historical sites dating from the early 17th century. Here’s a list of recommended shortstops you’ll enjoy.


Spend a night or weekend if you want to explore the South Coast. As a result of this, you will have ample time to cover all nearby attractions. Here is a list of recommended hotels close to Black River, Saint Elizabeth.

  • Sandals South Coast – Whitehouse
  • Jake’s Hotel – Treasure Beach
  • Sunset Resort and Villas – Treasure Beach

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